A semester or year abroad is a foreign concept to a lot of Dal students (pardon the pun), but it doesn’t have to be! Take it from me, it’s possible to go abroad, graduate in four years, and have the time of your life—without breaking the bank. Spending part of your undergrad abroad is a great way to invest in yourself. It’s been almost two years since I did a semester in Wellington, New Zealand, and I’m still benefiting from the experiences I had and the skills I learned.
1. Personal development
Being alone on the other side of the world is a great way to learn how to get your sh*t together. Whether it’s navigating your surroundings or re-learning what’s socially acceptable, you’ll become more independent and more self-confident in your everyday life. Besides #adulting, going abroad helps you to re-evaluate who you are and who you want to be. You’ll suddenly find yourself critiquing your beliefs, plans for the future, and previously held definitions of success. It’s refreshing to work through these things without worrying about your friends’ and family’s opinions.
2. Academic enrichment
Studying abroad at another university is an opportunity to take courses you wouldn’t be able to take at Dalhousie. Many students take language and/or culture courses they would never have considered enrolling in back home. Even if you plan on taking courses relevant to your degree, each university approaches teaching and learning in unique ways. There could be more emphasis on self-directed learning or more tutorials than lectures. Cultural differences transcend into education styles and experiencing these differences can have a positive impact on your studies back at Dal.
3. Intercultural skills
The world is more connected than ever before, and many employers value intercultural communication skills. Living abroad makes it easier to have an open mind and embrace thoughts and ideas that differ from your own. Having a global perspective fosters diversity and inclusion in your personal life and in the workplace. Besides, there are great graduate programs and career opportunities outside of Canada!
4. For the fun of it
Going abroad will impact you in unpredictable ways and reshape your perspectives on this great big world we live in. At the same time, it’s fun! You’ll meet people from all over the world, travel almost every weekend, and experience life in a whole new way. Studying abroad reminds you that every day is an adventure—you just have to go out and find it.
If you’re in Halifax, check out the Go Global Fair on Wednesday, Oct. 25 from 10am–2pm in the LeMarchant Place Atrium to meet with other Dal students who have gone abroad and current exchange students studying at Dal! Have more questions about the process? The International Centre holds info sessions every Tuesday from 2–3pm and every Friday from 1–2pm. For more information email email@example.com. If you’re in Truro, contact the Student Mobility Officer in the International Office for all the study abroad and exchange opportunities.
Delainey loved her time in New Zealand, and will forever be an advocate of getting out of your comfort zone.